Pastor: Rev. Beverly Hall
We are coming up on Mother’s Day. People expect a “Mother’s Day” sermon with a poem about a Mother’s love. Sometimes, that works. But there are many reasons why a “Mother’s Day Tribute” isn’t such a great idea. As I think about our congregation – I look out at people who are grieving. Their mother might have died recently – or 25 years ago. They think of Mother’s Day as a day to mourn. I see women who desperately wanted children but couldn’t have them. I see frazzled moms who would love a good night’s sleep. I see angry moms who can’t still the storm inside their hearts as they think of their children who didn’t live up to their expectations. I see people who were abused – physically, emotionally, or verbally - by mothers who thought this was the best way to parent. I see the woman who feels guilty for having an abortion, or the mother who neglected her children in favor of her career. I see mothers who bravely gave up their child so that child might have a better life. I see the faces of mothers who lost babies still in the womb or who lost children – at any age. I see hurt. Mother’s Day isn’t simple. It’s a complicated interwoven mess of emotions, stories, and heartache.
According to Live Science, turtles are reptiles with hard shells that protect them from predators. They are among the oldest and most primitive groups of reptiles, having evolved millions of years ago. Turtles live all over the world in almost every type of climate. There are more than 300 species of “turtles” in our world today. Turtles spend most of their lives in water. They have webbed feet or flippers and a streamlined body. Sea turtles rarely leave the ocean, except to lay eggs in the sand. Freshwater turtles live in ponds and lakes, and they climb out of the water onto logs or rocks to bask in the sun. Most turtles have the ability to pull their heads and extremities into their shells to protect themselves from danger. Wouldn’t it be great if we - as human beings – could do the same thing?
Have you ever heard of kudzu? It’s an invasive plant species native to Asia and innocently brought to the United States to control soil erosion. However, the plant has been rapidly spreading throughout the southern United States and has earned the nickname, “The vine that ate the South.” According to the US Forest Service, “its introduction has produced devastating environmental consequences” and kudzu’s “growth is outpacing the use of herbicide spraying and mowing.”
It’s spring and for many folks, it’s also allergy season. One of the symptoms of an allergy is “sneezing.” Sneezing is simply a reflex. Pollen and sunlight are the most likely instigators of a sneeze. However, there are 454 diseases that include sneezing as one of the symptoms? In other words, a sneeze may indicate something else other than a common cold or a seasonal allergy. We need to get a doctor’s opinion if our sneezing is out of control. We never want to take chances with our health!
I began this blog by quoting a song my grandmother taught me concerning worry and prayer. It had a line in it, “Don’t be a doubting Thomas, rest surely on his promise . . .” Of all the disciples, Thomas sticks out the most. We know how Judas betrayed Jesus, but we also realize he was part of God’s plan. We know how Peter denied Jesus – and how Jesus forgave him. We know Matthew, the tax collector, and James and John – the Sons of Thunder. We know Philip as the evangelist and Andrew who brought Peter to Jesus. We hear of Simon the Zealot, Bartholomew, Thaddeus, and James (the lesser). If I called out their names and asked for a one word description, most of us would not be able to agree. But if I mention Thomas, we would all say, “Doubter.” Thomas and doubting will forever be engraved in our collective conscientiousness. I ask you, “What’s so wrong with doubting?”
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